Muralism partnered with the Lynda Fairly Carpinteria Arts Center and the city of Carpinteria to host Chalk Up 2023 – an event which invited community members to add art along designated spaces on Linden Avenue – on May 20 and 21. 

Muralism is a nonprofit organization dedicated to connecting people with special needs to their communities through art projects in various cities, like painting murals or events like Chalk Up. Its mission is to paint one hundred murals by the 2028 Olympics. 

The city held a similar event called “Chalk the Walk” in 2020; however, due to the pandemic, it was not held the following year. This year, the event provided an opportunity for children and families to get to know their community in a fun, colorful and casual environment, Ernie Merlan, founder and executive director of Muralism, said. 

“This event was really about bringing in families and everyone getting to have a good time out there and not worrying about being super duper professional,” he said. 

Merlan said Chalk Up brought the community together, as part of Muralism’s mission to bring people together through art. Although the organization primarily focuses on serving individuals with special needs, this weekend’s event was open to all as an opportunity to meet others within their local community.

“Everyone’s getting to come together, and working right next to someone they may never see otherwise,” he said. “It was just a great way for everyone to get together and do things as a community.”

Project manager Greg Perea added that the event also promoted business in downtown Carpinteria by directing foot traffic to the area. According to Perea, the event also received nearly triple the participation than initially anticipated, and Muralism is hoping to hold the event again next year.

“Just with the short timeline, with three weeks to put it all together, promote it and logistically support it, and to have the turnout exceeded by three times, I think there’s gonna be a value in holding it next year,” Perea said.

“We love our town. They’re so great about working with us and figuring out ways that we can do things that bring the community together, and this is a community that loves being together.”

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